I imagine that everyone has at some point contemplated starting a business of some kind or other; either spurred by a detailed and analytical diagnosis of current market trends or having a cool idea whilst sat in the pub.
The good news is that a lot of the best business ideas have come from impromptu ideas, although equally a lot have come from months of tireless and expensive consumer research too. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where the idea has come from – what matters is that you know what to do with it.
You must have something to offer which is not currently available. If there is already a market for it then your idea has to be significantly better, simpler or cheaper. You will not be able to take on Nike or Microsoft overnight so regardless of how good your idea is, be prepared for a long journey and look for niches to target to get your foot in the door.
Conduct your research through an established market research company with a proven track record. Market research is not infallible but the public are usually pretty good at pointing out good ideas from bad ones and how best these ideas can be delivered. It is possible to conduct the research yourself but remember that as with any research, the wider your sample the more valid your findings.
One of the best ways to test the water is to establish a presence online. There are many online outlets with which you can offer your services or sell your items through without incurring any great initial costs. Setting up your own website will enable you to create your own space and implement it efficiently and safely.
Even establishing effective design and mechanics for your site is a pretty big task so it might be worth contracting that out to a third party. For the sake of safeguarding your ideas and intellectual property, consider using software escrow to ensure that you are not let down, or worse, plain ripped off.
You are unlikely to hit the perfect idea the first time around; even the best ideas rely upon willingness to adapt and that is why we are not still using Microsoft Windows 3.1! Just as important as the initial idea is it’s delivery. It has to be simple, intuitive and reliable.
Hardware escrow can make all the difference to a young business; if your competitors can do something simpler, better, cheaper or easier than you then the reality is you have a very slim chance of success. For that reason, make sure that you always use the best so your prospective customers can expect the same. Then, and only then, will you be the best.